[Most Recent Entries]
Below are the 6 most recent journal entries recorded in
|Wednesday, February 8th, 2012|
|"This Means War" Review
It's early in the year, a typical dumping ground of movies not worth your time or money. Studios unload their baggage in the hopes of at least breaking even, and the movie industry as a whole seems to slump in quality (with a few bright spots here and there that are usually forgotten by the time May comes around). With that in mind, you'd expect that a movie like "This Means War" would be nothing but baggage, a movie the studio has no hope for. Fortunately, that's not the case.
Directed by McG
, whose former credits include "Charlie's Angels", "Terminator: Salvation", and "We Are Marshall", "This Means War" ends up with McG harkening back to the action-comedy genre he first started in with "Charlie's Angels". Slick fighting and run-and-gun sequences mixed against a romantic comedy, it seems like McG took them name "This Means War" to heart; the film is constantly upping the ante on either side of the coin, doing both quite well in the process. What could have been a trainwreck turns into something surprisingly fresh, feeling less like a rehash of "Mr. and Mrs. Jones" and more like a test to find the perfect balance between a "guy's movie" and a "chick flick". In McG's hands, it actually passes the test.
A lot of the success of the film does come from it's cast. Reese Witherspoon
is her typically great self, playing the role of "Lauren", a 30-something workaholic who was burned by a past relationship, and finds herself single in the hustle and bustle of L.A. After her sister (played by Chelsea Handler
) sets up an online profile on a dating site, she ends up dating two men that she is unaware are best friends working for the CIA; FDR (Chris Pine
) and Tuck (Tom Hardy
). The weakest link in the cast is Tom Hardy, whose personality is so drab you never feel sorry for him, though his best friend has essentially moved in on a potential girlfriend and refuses to back down. Against anyone else, Tuck may have been sympathetic, but FDR is slick, smooth, and funny; everything you expect from a leading man. Watching him grow from a womanizing sleaze into a "good guy" is a lot more compelling than watching Tuck grow from a good guy into a... well... good guy. In the end, Witherspoon and Pine drive the narrative, while Hardy just seems to be along for the ride.
With the plot spelled out, the cliches are all over the place, but they all work. This isn't going to push film-making into a new renaissance, nor is it going to surprise with sudden plot twists. Instead, it will entertain, both with it's well-done action sequences and it's corny, cheese-ball jokes. At the end, you'll smile and laugh, and sometimes that's just what you need from a movie. In a time when schlock fills the cinemas, "This Means War" tips its hat to schlock, invites it in, and then dances masterfully with it. It's the "feel good movie" of Feb. 2012... and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Two-and-a-half Out of Four Stars
|Friday, June 27th, 2008|
|A Cure for A.I.D.S.
Blood fills my mouth, coppery and thick. I hope it's my lip, or my gums. Hope that my teeth are all in place. Another right hand, and I feel two, maybe three teeth rattling around with the blood and spit. There goes hope out the window.
How many are there now? Four? Five? It started with two, but like all good mobs, it multiplied quickly and violently. Hatred in their eyes, fire in their bellies, each of their blows rain down on me, some superficial, some devastating.
"Faggot!", they scream.
"Die, you cock-sucker!", which is greeted by laughter.
There is pain everywhere. They punch and kick and spit on me, each of them trying their hardest to prove their worth to their brethern. I feel blood dripping down my face, my ribs throbbing from the repeated kicks. There is no amount of pain that can satiate their hatred, though. The blood I drip feeds their hunger more, and the attack grows fiercer and fiercer.
I try to crawl away, but I know it's pointless. They're on me like rabid dogs, tearing apart some helpless bunny. Everything is blurring, my eyesight is clouded by my blood and their spit. I can feel my consciousness slipping. I know I'm going to die.
People like them, they think we choose to be homosexuals. Like we love the ridicule and the scorn. They think we do it to be "different". To defy "God's law". No man would choose this. It is who we are, who we always have been. I knew when I was thirteen that I was attracted to other boys. I tried shutting it out, having been taught in church and at home that being gay is wrong. When I came out to my family, they shunned me. Kicked me out and wanted nothing to do with me. I wonder if they'll be at the funeral?
I regain consciousness. The pain is overwhelming and my eyes have swollen most of the way shut. I see red, and realize that I'm lying in a pool of my own blood. Yet they're still kicking at me, laughing now. I try to get up, out of pure instinct, the need to survive, but a punch greets me across my face. I black out once more.
The doctors told me I was HIV positive when I was nineteen. Imagine that; your world has just begun, adulthood is creeping it's way into your life, and you're suddenly told that your life is effectively over. But I kept a positive attitude. There were great strides being made in HIV treatment, and there was hope that maybe, just maybe, I'd react positively to that treatment. Hope again. As always, my hopes were dashed when they told me my insurance wouldn't cover the treatments, and I couldn't afford to pay for them. Welcome to the real world, where money means more than saving lives in the medical field.
Speaking of hope, I was hoping I wouldn't regain consciousness, hoping that the pain was over and they'd just finish me. I really hate hope at this point. The pain is unbearable. The blood is everywhere. I'm on my back, and I see the attacker's hands. Their knuckles split open, blood dripping from them, both mine and their's. Mixing, mingling, my blood seeping into their bloodstream. A gurgle escapes my lips, then a cough, sending streams of blood down my face. If they weren't hooting and hollering, weren't basking in their love of killing a "faggot", they would have heard underneath that gurgle the laughter.
There is no cure for HIV. They can hope to contain it, to keep it from consuming the last of your white blood cells and becoming full-blown AIDS. The medications they have are miraculous. But they're also expensive.
Hopefully those men aren't rich. Hope hasn't been good to me lately; I'm due for a bit of good luck.
|Tuesday, May 8th, 2007|
So, I know that my LiveJournal is frequented by quite a few people who consider themselves writers, and several of those I consider "good". Over the past few weeks, I've found myself pulling further and further away from my first love; writing. Today, I think I came up with a solution.
This is a call to all of my writer friends; collaborate with me on a short story/novel. I'm looking to write a black comedy, possibly fantasy-based. There isn't any set length I'm aiming for, merely a very organic feeling beginning and end. The way this would work is pretty simple; I write a chapter, you write a chapter. We continue going back and forth until we both agree that it's done.
A couple of things before you commit, though. First of all, I expect to have a complete work of fiction come out of this by the end. So if you don't think you can finish the job you're starting, don't volunteer. Second, I'm very critical and expect whomever I'm writing with to be the same. If you don't think something I wrote works within the context of the story, or just doesn't work period, do tell without fear of hurting my feelings. I'll do the same of you, so be prepared. Finally, when the product is finished and we're happy with it, help me shop the thing around to interested parties. The split on all of the earnings of the story will be straight down the middle, 50/50, as will all of the credit of the story.
If you're at all interested, leave a comment. This is something I'm excited about, and something I'm hoping will toss me back on the writing horse I've been neglecting to feed lately.
|Saturday, February 24th, 2007|
|The Daily Grind
I wake up in the mornings and stammer into the bathroom. It's normally at that point where I decide whether I'm going to shower or not. Usually, I shower. Sometimes, however, I scowl in the mirror, would rather clod downstairs, and do other things with my time. Inevitably, I regret not showering. But I still have those days that I don't.
We all have our routines. Some of us wake up and go to work. Some of us kiss our significant others good morning. Some of us just want everything to stop for a few hours so we can get more sleep in. We follow these routines everyday, never questioning them. They're us, they're who we are, and we can no more break them than we could live without eating/drinking/sleeping.
But where do those routines come from? You can point at capitalism in one sense, as it forces us to contribute something to society in order to survive the day-to-day trappings of living. Yet even before capitalism, during the farming cultures of old, we still followed routines. Up early, till the grain, irrigate the fields, hunt, gather, create, eat, sleep.
Thinking on it, I wish there was a way to forget routine. You wake up, and you decide what you want to do depending on how you're feeling. If you feel like working to earn a wage, so be it. If you want to sleep in and play video games all day, more power to you. If you just want to gather up all of your things and backpack across Europe, then come back to the same life you left behind, feel free. Life would be so much better without the routines that bind us to the places we live.
Our society is the richest and most lavish in the history of the world because of our routines. But at what cost to us as a people do we pay in keeping it alive? How much of our life is spent following routine, and not doing the things we keep telling ourselves "one day, I'll..."?
I want to visit Japan. I want to travel all across the United States. I want to spend an entire year doing nothing but crafting stories from words and pictures.
Maybe one day I'll break my routine. Maybe one day we all will. But until then I'll keep looking in the mirror in the morning, contemplating a shower. As long as I'm content with where my routine leads me, my desires can be pushed aside for just a little longer. Current Mood: artistic
|Thursday, November 2nd, 2006|
|In Search of Jack (Part One)
Jack had decided he didn't like fairy tales anymore. So he left.
It was confusing for many people when it first happened. They would be reading fairy tales to their children, or teaching about the foundations of story, or just trying to remember when things were nice and good and innocent in their lives, and suddenly there was a huge hole where Jack once lived. The stories were there, but Jack's name had mysteriously disappeared, and no one could recall who it was that was involved. They knew _someone_ had climbed a beanstalk, that _someone_ had jumped over a candlestick, but for the life of them they just couldn't remember, and neither could any of the books they tried finding the information in.
At first, Jack found this all horribly amusing. It was like being a part of another wild and fantastic story, having all of these people searching high and low for record of his exploits killing giants and playing with his golden snuff box. But Jack's attention-span was short, and he moved on quickly to observing and doing other things that entertained him.
It wasn't long before he met a girl who he fell head over heels with. He courted her, and as all things go in Jack's life, he won her heart and her hand in marriage. They had a son, who Jack loved to play with and whisper his stories to, and seemed for all intents and purposes to be happy. But Jack is fickle, and never stays anywhere longer than after the fun ends, and he abandoned his wife and child, telling his wife as he left that he was off to pursue "adventure".
The sad thing with the passing of time is that babies grow into children, and those children grow into teens, and those teens inevitably reach adult-hood. Innocent fables turn darker, life becomes more complicated, and the things that made us who we are give way to the things society feels we ought to be. So it was with Jack's son, who's name was Thomas. The wild and vibrant tales of his youth had given way to boring literature, which lead to Thomas finding himself working at a boring job as a typesetter. If you were to ask Thomas, he would tell you he had led a fulfilling, interesting life full of fun and drunken debauchery. But how much fun did one have if one ends up as a typesetter at the end of the journey?
It was at this job, toiling away in obscurity, that a younger man walked in the door and changed Thomas's life forever. Not one to notice such things as people entering or exiting his workspace, Thomas continued sliding letters into position, hoping that every ' and ! was in exactly the right place. The younger man was pointed towards Thomas's work area by the owner of the shop, who was none too happy about personal matters making their way into his place of business. He had already made a mental note to give Thomas a good chiding, possibly a hard boot to the rear, and if he was in a particularly bad mood, a shove out the door back into the harsh reality of unemployment.
The young man approached Thomas's work station and held out his hand. It took several clearings of the throat before Thomas noticed that someone was three feet away from him, smiling.
"Hello, Thomas. I'm Clive," proclaimed the young man, "I'm your brother."
|Tuesday, August 1st, 2006|
|Jed Shaffer Interviews Brian J. Blottie!
1. You're given a blank check to film a new superhero movie, based on any "traditional" comic book super hero (read: Marvel, DC, Image, Valiant) comic book. What comic book, and who casts it?
Well, since most of the comics I read aren't superhero books, this would normally be very hard. However, I know exactly the comic I'd make... "Astro City". It's a mind-blowing comic that looks "behind the curtain" of comic books, showing what exactly it is that drives the criminals to become criminals, what a normal day in the life of a superhero is like when he's _not_ saving the world, and assorted other circumstances that you think about when in deep discussion about comics. Remind me when I see you next, I'll bring over the one-shot that just came out and you can peruse it.
As for casting? It would depend on who or what exactly the focus of the movie was. If it was the best of the plots, what would drive a man to become a "super criminal", I'd have to cast Vin Diesel in the role of the criminal. I _hate_ most of what Vin Diesel does, but I know for a fact that the guy can act if given the right material, and think he'd be great in the role of a normal man who ends up falling into crime without even realizing it.2. How come you haven't bothered getting any more user icons for LJ?
I just don't look around for them. Everytime I have, I either can't find what I want, or if I do find what I want it's too big. I don't want to have to crop shit myself, so fuck it at that point.3. A list-style question: give me 5 songs you absolutely HATE by bands/artists you love.
"Gently" by Slipknot (fucking _ruined_ one of the best heavy metal albums to come out in years)
"Mercury" by Clutch (it's short and doesn't really go anywhere. Right when you think it's going to rock, it ends.)
"Fitter, Happier" by Radiohead (Grates on my nerves everytime I hear it)
"Rooster" by Alice in Chains (I don't even know why. I just don't like it)
"Stinkfist" by Tool ("Eulogy" should have lead off the album, and I hate "Stinkfist" purely for it's album position and refuse to listen to it)4. What is something (TV, author, music, whatever) that people would be surprised to find out you like?
I really, really love Tori Amos musically, I love "Sex and the City", and probably the strangest author I enjoy but really shouldn't is Michael Crichton (not so much anymore, but his books always amused me).5. Why do Michiganders (or Michiganians?) add "s" to the end of things that do not get pluralized? (such as "I work at Fords", "I shop at Meijers", etc)
You actually hit on it right away. It started when Ford opened his first factory here. It wasn't "Ford Factory", it was "Ford's". So, in all reality, it's not plural; it's a possessive s. So next time you hear "I shop at Walmart's", you may slap the shit out of the person since they should be saying "I shop at Walton's". "Meijer's" and "Ford's" are still acceptable, however.
Want to be interviewed? Here...
1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your LJ with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.